Thank you very much to Jennifer Rey at Our Sunday Visitor for this interview which kicks off my Catholic Mom's Cafe blog tour!
Daily retreats for busy moms: An inside look with author Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle
Editor's note: OSV Daily Take is the first stop on Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle’s "Catholic Mom’s Café" blog tour.
With five children Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle knows how difficult it is for busy moms to maintain a robust spiritual life. In response, the author, blogger, speaker and EWTN host developed five-minute daily retreats for moms on-the-go in her new book, Catholic Mom's Café: 5-Minute Retreats for Every Day of the Year (Our Sunday Visitor, 2013).
Catholic Mom's Café is a 365-day devotional book for Catholic moms with reflections that highlight the virtues of faith, hope and love. The following interview gives an inside look at her new work.
Our Sunday Visitor: What was your inspiration for Catholic Mom's Café?
Donna-Marie: I am a Catholic mother of eight — five on earth and three in heaven. The vocation of motherhood is my life. And, because it is, I know firsthand how totally inundated and busy a mother can be. That’s why I wanted to write this book — to offer busy faithful moms something they can sink their teeth into, but in small enough portions they can fit it into their extremely demanding lifestyle. We have to face the facts — a mother's life is not her own. Her role is a 24/7 schedule since she is on call every minute caring for the needs of her family. There's no telling when one of the little ones will spike a fever in the night or wake up suddenly with teething pains, or any number of needs throughout the day with the young and the older children.
I am also very familiar with the lack of affirmation and encouragement available from our society for Catholic moms today. Because we Catholic and Christian moms not only care for the exteriors, but also for the spiritual welfare of our children, we work hard to keep them away from indecent films, inappropriate clothing, and everything that is harmful to them.
I believe there's a great need to rally together and offer one another encouragement whenever possible.
OSV: You're not a coffee drinker, so why did you choose the café theme?
Donna-Marie: You're right, I don’t drink coffee but I do love tea and teas can be had in a café! I titled this book Catholic Mom's Café because I envisioned the experience as a sweet café of time to drink in inspiration. When I think of a café I envision nourishment and even taking a quick few minutes to refresh oneself.
I wrote this book thinking of the busy mom plunking down at the kitchen table in the morning with her children around her. After grace before meals is said together, hopefully the mom can open to the appropriate page and read the short verses to set the tone for her day. If the breakfast table doesn't work for her, hopefully she can designate a time when she can drink in the spiritual nourishment and be given her "spiritual vitamin" for the day.
OSV: Did your relationship with Blessed Mother Teresa help with writing this book?
Donna-Marie: Yes, I believe that knowing Mother Teresa has helped in writing this book because she touched my life so profoundly that I think her wisdom and love just naturally spills out into all I do and say and write about. I feel very passionate about inspiring Catholic and Christian mothers to go deeper into their faith, to trust God in their mothering, and to work hard at raising their kids in the Faith because God is counting on mothers to do so.
OSV: What made you focus on the theological virtues?
Donna-Marie: The focus in this book is about living lives of faith, hope and love within the vocation of mothering our children. God as a free gift gives us these wonderful theological virtues at our baptism. These virtues are key to living a Christian life, and I think sadly sometimes we forget about them. I thought it would be helpful to write a book in this way, which offers the busy mom a chance to discover the virtues already present in her life, but unfolding more and more each day. I think the book can be a reminder to "flex" a particular "muscle" of virtue each day to "grow" the virtues! Practicing these virtues makes us more like our Creator.
OSV: How does each day work?
Donna-Marie: Each day has four elements to work with: Ponder, Offer, Pray and Savor. Moms can pick up the book to the page of the day and read the verse at the top in the "Ponder" section, which sets the tone for the day. It could be a verse from the Bible, a snippet from the Catechism, a quote from a saint or from a well-known figure. She moves to the next section, which through an illustrative story invites her to "Offer" something — a suggestion of how she might work on a virtue, discover the blessings of the day, or teach her family something. After that, she can say the prayer in the "Pray" section. Finally, she is offered something to "Savor" — a thought to take her through the day to keep the message fresh on her heart.
OSV: How can this book benefit busy moms' spiritual lives?
Donna-Marie: I feel it's beneficial to provide bursts of inspiration in simple short devotions that will help bolster a mom’s spirits and give her the Catholic "tools" to get through her busy day (and night!). Moms can pick this book up at a set time of the day or simply weave it in as time allows — no worries, no pressure — simply bighearted inspiration always ready to serve.
OSV: Is there a way for readers to connect or to delve deeper?
Donna-Marie: I have created a "Catholic Mom's Café" blog and a "Catholic Mom's Café"Facebook page. I love to create camaraderie among Catholic and Christian moms by giving them a place to meet and share their faith. Additionally, I often remark that when you get a bunch of faithful women together — watch out — amazing things can happen with faith, hope and love!
OSV: Can you tell me about the TV mini-series, "Catholic Mom's Café"?
Donna-Marie: My TV mini-series on EWTN is called "Catholic Mom's Café," same as the book! I linked them together by using the same title to again offer a warm inviting "environment" for Catholic and Christian moms. The television show is like an extension of the book. The moms reading the book will hopefully feel connected to the show where they can see me interviewing guests, offering advice, and speaking about that miraculous yet crazy vocation of motherhood.
Get your copy of Catholic Mom’s Café!
Autographed copies of Catholic Mom's Café are available for purchase at Donna-Marie's website. You can also purchase it through the publisher, Our Sunday Visitor, or at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or your local Catholic bookstore.
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